10:16 PM PDT on Tuesday, July 6, 2010

By GENE GHIOTTO
The Press-Enterprise

A Lake Elsinore businessman and one of his former employees pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges that they conspired to hide the businessman’s involvement in the failed recall attempt of a city councilman.

Michel Knight, owner of Trevi Entertainment Center, and Enelida “Nellie” Caron, who worked at Trevi, entered their pleas before Superior Court Judge Richard Fields in Riverside.

Both agreed to return to court Aug. 10 for felony settlement conferences.

Jeffrey VanWagenen, Knight’s attorney, declined to comment after the hearing. Caron, represented by the Riverside County public defender’s office, also declined to comment. A public defender had not been assigned yet to her case.

The charges stem from a failed effort to recall Lake Elsinore Councilman Thomas Buckley.

Caron was treasurer of the recall committee.

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